6 REALTOR® Insights on Selling Your Home
1. REALTORS® are just as concerned about getting to closing as you are
One thing that concerns REALTORS® is not knowing if a signed contract will actually close, says Noemi Bitterman, an agent with Warburg Realty in New York City.
“The process involves working hard to get the listing, scheduling floor plans and photos, showcasing the property on all social media sites and real estate websites, working open houses and private showings, keeping sellers updated, getting an offer, having it accepted, and then submitting the contract,” Bitterman says. “The finish line is the closing and yet we have no guarantee this will happen. Title issues may come up, there might be banking issues, buyer’s remorse or, even, sellers changing their minds.”
2. Sales can hinge on an appraisal
Appraisers make or break deals every day in the real estate market, says John Myers, owner of Myers & Myers Real Estate in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For example, mortgage approvals are based on the appraisal price, so if a home is appraised for less than the sale price, either the seller must reduce their price, a buyer must bring more money to the closing table, or the deal falls apart, he says. While agents can help dispute the valuation or a seller can pay for another appraisal, appraisers rarely change their evaluations, so all involved in the transaction have to deal with it as it stands.
3. Sellers often can’t let go
It’s clear that selling a home comes with massive emotional complications. “Sellers tend to believe their home is special, even if the same apartment on the floor below just sold and the market is blatantly telling them a price,” says Gill Chowdhury, an agent at Warburg Realty in New York City. “What’s most frustrating in this industry is watching a seller fall victim to this trap, especially in a down market.”
He says he’s seen many properties be priced too high, only to be reduced by massive amounts, still not sell, and have the sellers interview a new round of brokers.
“More often than not, the seller will refuse to accept that the market has continued to soften,” Chowdhury says. “They will price high and continue to chase the market down.”
4. We like when you keep your property tidy
Usually it’s no one’s business but yours if you’re messy or tidy—but when your place is on the market, your cleanliness habits can affect how quickly your home sells:
“It should go without saying, but I have to say it all the time: Tidy up!” says Alexis Godley, an agent at Corcoran in New York City. “I don’t always recommend staging but a clean, pristine, knickknack-free apartment is a must in my opinion. This really creates a lovely and fresh blank slate first impression of the unit for buyers to imagine its potential.”
5. HGTV’s making it look too easy
“HGTV has been both a blessing and a scourge for the real estate industry when it comes to renos and staging,” says Melissa Terzis, an agent at RLAH Real Estate in Washington, D.C. “On the one hand it elevated the game for many sellers who see the value in renovations and staging prior to selling. But the downside is that it has provided a false sense of confidence to many buyers who think what they see on the home renovation shows is fun or easy.”
Terzis says these shows are especially damaging for novice investors. “There are so many more pieces to ‘buy low, fix and flip, sell high, ensure you squeeze out a profit’ than a half-hour show can portray,” she says. “Those who are able to truly be successful are highly skilled, in-the-know about the market, and flush with cash.”
6. Time is critical, and we don’t want you to lose out on a property
“I recently showed a house to buyers and they loved it,” says Jessica Kaufman, an agent with Citi Habitats in New York City, says that once a client of hers saw a house, fell in love, and immediately placed a purchase offer. It was accepted, and Kaufman stressed to the buyer that they needed to get a deal sheet out immediately since the home was a great find at a reasonable price. The buyer wanted to see the house just once more before moving ahead. But since the house was still technically on the market, the seller’s agent continued to show it. The seller received an all-cash offer to purchase with no contingencies—and her client ended up losing the house.
“Purchasing real estate is a big decision, but when it’s crunch time—it pays to act fast,” she says.